Two restaurateurs backing new ‘vaccinated-only policy’ for patrons

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By Theresa Goodwin

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At least two business owners are in support of a decision by government to allow only fully vaccinated patrons into bars, some restaurants and other entertainment spots.

However, they are concerned that the August 1start date is too short a window to implement the policy.

Walter O’Reilly, who operates Cafeque located at the Heritage Quay boardwalk, said that after talking with other bar owners, many are of the belief that government missed out on an opportunity to create vaccination cards similar to the country’s Social Security or Medical Benefit Scheme photo identification cards.

“You can have somebody presenting the current vaccination card that we have and it could be from someone else who was not actually vaccinated. When you have those instances, it is going to be very difficult for the businesses themselves to monitor the new policy because there is no IDs attached to the cards,” O’Reilly explained.

Maria Britto, owner of Ana’s Beach Restaurant and Art Gallery, agreed that it would be tricky for business owners to enforce the new rules.

“It is going to be very difficult to identify the vaccinated and unvaccinated without a picture ID on the cards that are being issued. I think it is important for us to re-enforce the protocols that are in place to ensure they are maintained,” Britto said.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas told media last week that the measures are vital to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Both Britto and O’Reilly agreed that, while it may see an initial drop in economic activity, the move is a step in the right direction.

“I think the Cabinet and the prime minister are trying to get us to understand the imperative nature that we have to get ourselves vaccinated in order to be able to get back to life normally,” O’Reilly said.

Britto stated, “I totally agree … that we all have a choice to be vaccinated or not. However, it has been proven that people who are vaccinated have a lower risk of contracting the virus.”

Both business owners are of the view that all restaurants and bars should be subject to the same policy to safeguard the health of staff and patrons alike.

They were speaking on Sunday’s Big Issues show on Observer radio.

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